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Crafting will be a significant part of AoC. However it is still unclear as to how significant it will ultimately be. It is likely that the end game crafting will be comparable but slightly less than those you obtain through questing and raids. However, like many MMO's some crafted items will be slightly better in 'Niche' categories (Like resistance, etc). Time will tell. What we do know is that in order to make any item, you will need Resources.
professions in this game are divided up into 2 parts in AoC: gathering, and crafting. The gathering professions can be learned by any race/culture and any class at level 20. The crafting can only be learned when you reach level 40. A character can learn as many gathering skills as he/she wants. However, one character can only learn one crafting profession.
Resources are items you gather that are spread throughout the game world and dungeons. Their placement are often referred to as resource nodes. There are several types of resources...
Miner Minerals like copper and iron
Prospector Precious metals like silver and gold
Skinner Skinning the hides from beasts
Stonecutter gathering stones such as sandstone and basalt
Weaver obtains cloth from plants, such as cotton
Woodcutter cuts wood (Brilliant!!) like ash and oak.
How to learn Harvesting
Once you have left the paradise known as Tortage (located somewhere in southern Florida) and have returned to your homelands, check your Level. If you are still level 19, go kill a couple of roaming beasts and ding to 20. After that, its time to take a journey to learn the gathering skills. Unlike other MMOs (which I will not mention by name but rhymes with 'Hurled of Bore Shaft') you will not find crafting trainers in major cities. In age of Conan, crafting trainers are reclusive and tucked away in far off zones which you have to travel to. There are three zones in all, one for each race.
Stygians can go to the Purple Lotus Swamp
From Khemi take the boat to Khopshef. Once there find the Road south out of Bubshur and go all the way to the zone border. Staying on the road keeps you away from a lot of the agro mobs ..but keep your eyes peeled and be ready to sprint if need be. You will see signposts along the way directing you. In the middle of the southern zone border you will find a caravan. Click the caravan and you'll zone into Purple Lotus Swamp.
Aquilonians should go to Poitain
From old Tarantia, take the east gate and follow the wall all the way to the dead end. There you will see a Wagoner who will take you to the Wild Lands of Zelata. In Zelata, find the road North to the zone border following the signposts to Poitain. At the end of the road you will find a stagecoash driver. Click the driver to zone into Poitain.
Cimmerians You poor bastards have to lug it all the way to the Lachish Plains
from Connarch head into Conall's Valley. Take the valley all the way to the city and then enter the field of the dead (its the one with all the dead people...and flowers...blood makes the flowers grow). You will see signposts along the way directing you and find a LOT of lev 28 mobs who want to stick you on the end of a pike. Its a tough slog for a lev 20. One Idea for you Cimmer's...instead of going to Conall's Valley, take the coach to old Tarantia and go to the Aquilonian zone. I believe you can get the harvesting quests from any gathering zone ..I'll need to look into that.
ok, you made it to the promise land. The hills are just bubbling with resources ..you think. Find the main village and you will see the yellow '!' on your minimap. Those are your trainers. To learn the harvesting trade you will need to do quests so make sure you have 6 quest slots open in your quest log. Since there is no limit as to how many resources you can learn to harvest, I suggest you may as well learn them all. So go to every harvester trainer and get the quests.
Harvesting quests do give exp.
Advancing in resource Harvesting.
After Speaking with each harvesting trainer, you will receive a quest to gather 20 resources. Luckily, those nodes (and some advanced nodes) can be found in that very same zone. Head out of the village and start looking. It is about this time where you realize how cushy you had it in WoW especially with the addons like Gatherer. Well, AoC doesn't have that kind of addon (yet) or online maps of resource locations (yet). So you will need to use your eyes. These zones are not graphically intense as others, so for those who have settings set to LOW, you can up your terrain distance a bit. Also it helps if you turn off the grass for the time being.
Resource nodes in AoC are fixed. So if you find one, it will always be there (shouldn't be long before node maps will be online). Resource nodes look like part of the terrain and are appropriately distributed. Sandstone looks like a bunch of rocks made of sandstone, cotton bushes looks like bushes, trees look like trees. The trees I found the hardest, since it can be tough distinguishing tree resources from plain ol tree scenery. As I mentioned , resource nodes are appropriately placed. you wont find a large collection of Iron in the swamp, head into the mountains along the side of the zone. Similarly, you wont find a tree node if your in the middle of a desert ..you gotta go where there are trees.
As I said, resource nodes are fixed. That means on heavily populated servers they may be camped, and on PvP servers they Definitely will be camped (you have been warned). Since they don't despawn when mined what they have are basically hitpoints. When you find an untouched, pristine, virgin node (Virginity in the world of Conan..yea, right!) it will have 100% HP. When you harvest the resource, you gain 1 item and the node loses 10% life. Using my 5 year bachelors degree, majoring in analytical geometry with a minor in theoretical mathmatics...I ran the calculations and found out you can harvest a node 10 times before its depleted! Over time (a long time) the nodes life goes up (I'm guessing at least 30 minutes from 0 life to full life).
To harvest a node, just right click and you go into harvesting motion which I timed took 3 seconds. You can only get one resource per click. That makes harvesting a VERY boring thing to do. Constantly right clicking a node. I'm guessing that after 80 levels of harvesting, you will have a 'carple tunnel fatality', where your wrist will explode and splatter real blood on the screen. To make the experience in the Crafting zone more enjoyable, on occasion when you are harvesting, the node will spawn a few mobs which will interrupt you by attacking. So be ready for Ol Prospector Pete when your mining that silver. In my experience nodes located outside the crafting zones do NOT spawn mobs.
Key Strategy: To save you from the afore mentioned fatality, Select the node by left clicking it once, then just hit the 'U' key. A lot easier on the wrist.
The one exception is skinning. Skinning comes from killing beasts. Any animal has a chance to produce a leather used as a resource in skinning, no right clicking on a dead carcass is needed. There are plenty of beasts in the Harvest zones. However, understand that there is a large variation of mob levels in each flock. Attacking one can lead to agroing of nearby beasts. So take care when pulling, otherwise you'll find yourself announcing on guild channel "Dude! I was just pwned by a deer!"Of all resources, Skinning is by far the slowest. You can kill hundreds of animals and still only get a handful of skins.
Also weaving primarily depends on gathing cloth off humanoids. The first tier of weaver gathering requires you to harvest from a cotton bush like any other resource node. However tier 2 and 3 requires the hunting of humanoids for silk. Thankfully silk drops are a lot more common than leather it's easier to progress.
Ok, I know a lot of people have thought "hand in 20 resources to advance?...EASY! Ill just buy them at the Traders (player auction)". I'm afraid that does you no good. Because the gathering of the items is a quest, receiving items from the trader, or from someone giving you the item does you no good. You must harvest the materials yourself to get credit. Sucks, I know...there is no easy path. This sucks a lot when it comes to the rare gems in tier 1b and tier 2b (see below)
Key Strategy: It seems that the resource nodes regenerate faster in the dedicated resource zones (purple lotus swamp, Poitain, Lachish Plains). Dedicating time to just run circles around the zones (Clockwise ...because thats just the way Conan likes it) will pay off in more resources to harvest.
Key Strategy: While harvesting in the resource Zones YOU WANT TO HAVE MOBS SPAWN AND ATTACK. Ol Prospector pete and the nagging nemidians may interupt that harvest cycle but they drop resource materials often when they die. Things like duskmetal, ebon ash and platinum can fetch 20, 40, or 60 silver (Depending on your server's economy). Looting these counts for in your resource collection quests!
Key Strategy: Harvest in your guild's city Zone. Less chance to be ganked (Unless your at WAR with someone) and a LOT less competion for resources.
There are multiple tiers of resources for every trade. To advance in each you need to finish the appropriate quest from the harvesting trainers. For example, starting off in stonecutting, you can mine sandstone, after completing Sandstone (and quartz) you can now mine granite, then basalt and so on. As you advance in the harvesting tiers you can still harvest those tiers under you.
There are also special items that you can find in Resource nodes. Clear quartz from Sandstone, Black Silver from Silver. These are rare and occur by chance from one of the nodes. I'm not sure exactly what the chance is but I believe its around 1%. These 'Gems' as I refer to them will be the biggest limiting step for resource gatherers. You can literally spend hours running around to nodes and NOT get one. I expect that in the future they will up the rate of these, but till then, expect some frustration.
Key Strategy: The Harvesting of a rare item from a node takes 20% off the node (not like the usual 10% from a regular resource). So if you find a node that is under 20% health, there is a 0% chance of getting a rare. Remember this as your working your way up.
Key Point: Rare Resources are deposited directly into your Resource inventory. If there is NO space in your inventory for another resource it will drop on the ground as a Loot Bag. REMEMBER TO LOOT IT. A lot of people forget.